Surf - Adding value to a value brand: how Surf went from the bottom of the laundry basket to the UK's fastest growing FMCG brand

Principal Authors: Paula Vampre and Tass Tsitsopoulos – BBH

Contributing Authors: David Hartley and Albeta Svorligkou – Data2Decisions; Suzy Jordan – Mindshare


This paper illustrates an interesting marketing conundrum – how to put the value back into a value brand. Surf was a value brand that was seen as cheaper than it actually was. Advertising was needed to inject a new level of quality back into the brand, in order that its value credentials were boosted. In 2006, for the third consecutive year. Surf was losing volume and value share. It was perceived as cheap, limiting its appeal to promotion seekers who buy on price. Understanding value, consumers helped create a new dimension in the value segment, attracting profitable loyalists and replacing these toxic ‘promotion-seeking’ consumers. The ‘Gorgeous laundry for less’ campaign was launched in 2007, aimed at advertising Surf as a product that could bring delight to a customer's everyday laundry activity, taking her on a sensorial journey with its fragrance. As a result. Surf became the UK's fastest-growing FMCG brand, generating £43.5m in revenue, a payback of £3.82 per £1 spent. This paper is a salutary lesson that value is a function of quality and price, and where one dominates the other the value perceptions of the brand are undermined. Surf very successfully rebalanced its brand to become again the value washing powder on UK shelves.